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Ban urges UN Council unity on Syria

UN chief calls for unity before Security Council meeting with Arab League on draft proposal to end Syria crisis

AFP , Tuesday 31 Jan 2012
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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Amman, Jordan 31 January, 2011 (Photo: AP)
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UN leader Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday urged the UN Security Council to overcome bitter differences over Syria to increase pressure to end the bloodshed.

The Security Council must be "united this time, speak and act in a coherent manner, reflecting the wishes of the international community and reflecting the urgent wishes and aspirations of the Syrian people who have been yearning for freedom," Ban said after talks in Amman with Jordan's Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh.

"This is crucially important," he told a press conference hours before a Security Council meeting at which the Arab League was to appeal for backing for its political plan for an end to the Syria crisis.

Earlier, he said he hoped the Security Council meeting "will bear quick fruit so that the council can meet the expectations of the international community."

The foreign ministers of the United States, Britain and France are in New York to back the Arab League and a draft resolution they have jointly drawn up condemning the Syria violence.

But Russia opposes the draft, saying that moves to force President Bashar al-Assad, Russia's last major Middle East ally, are unacceptable.

An Arab League plan, which the western nations want the Security Council to back, would call on Assad to hand over powers to his deputy so that new elections can be held.

Russia and China used their veto powers as permanent members of the council to block a previous resolution on Syria.

"It is more urgent than ever to put an end to this bloodshed and violence and to start a credible political solution," Ban said.

While it was not too late for Assad to "take decisive and bold reform measures" the Syria crisis has become "a threat to regional, even international peace and security," Ban said.

Ban praised Jordan's measures to welcome about 2,500 Syrians who have fled across the border since protests against Assad erupted last March.

"You have to know that we are extremely prepared for any outcome and that our contingency plans are there," the Jordanian minister commented when asked about the threat of more refugees flooding across the border.

"We certainly have been keeping an eye on the situation up north and we have contingency plans linked to any possible development," he added.

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